Heavy Rains Douse Central and South Florida, Prompting Rescues

Jan Wesner Childs
Published: August 14, 2019

Heavy rains flooded roadways and delayed flights Wednesday afternoon in central and southern Florida.

More than 4 inches of rain fell in parts of the Orlando region, and an additional 2 to 3 inches were expected the rest of the week in several areas. Photos posted to social media showed fire crews assisting motorists stranded in floodwaters.

Orange County Fire Rescue tweeted that there were no injuries as several cars were stuck in high water on the east side of Orlando.

Departures at Orlando International Airport were delayed as much as two hours, according to FlightAware.

Video posted to social media showed a waterspout offshore in Palm Beach County near Lake Worth.

Flood watches and warnings were issued for a large swath of the state's western side, from Crystal River south to Fort Myers and east toward the middle of the state, according to the National Weather Service. Near Tampa, warnings were in effect for the Hillsborough River at Hillsborough River State Park, the Alafia River at Lithia and the Little Manatee River at Wimauma.

Floridians are used to the state's famous afternoon thunderstorms this time of year, which can turn severe. But this week has seen days of downpours that have saturated the ground.

"What is most unusual about this pattern is that rain will be an all day on-and-off rain rather than the once or twice a day severe thunderstorms," weather.com meteorologist Jonathan Belles said. "Showers and storms will be possible in the middle of the night too, which is not typical of summer."

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